Thursday August 30, 2018
“Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48).
This passage has been interpreted several ways. Some believe it refers to one being sinless as God is. Another thinks it means one’s love must equal God’s. As one brother stated, “Whatever it means, we don’t do it.”
God adds sinners to the saved. Yet, we continue to sin! If we continue to sin after being added, how can we obey Jesus’ command in Matthew 5:48? Doesn’t “sin” indicate human failure?
Who is perfect? Jesus! Who saves us? Jesus! Whose blood washes away all our sins? Jesus’! Who made it possible for us to receive God’s righteousness when God added us to the saved? Jesus! Who lived a perfect life? Jesus! Paul told the Romans about those who were “none righteous” and “all have sinned” (Romans 3:10, 23). The “none” and “all” includes everyone but Jesus. Everyone! That includes you and me! Has God added you to the saved? If so, what is the difference between you after being added and the “you” before being added? You still sin! So how can we be “perfect” like God? If the passage means love as God does, who has? Does God expect us to be perfect? Isn’t that an impossibility unless we are God? Some will reply, “We must at least strive to be perfect or sinless.” Here is God’s reply, “none righteous” and “all have sinned, and come short”! Can one brag about his “shortness” not being as “short” as someone else?
What did Jesus do for you that he has not done for those who haven’t been added? He took all our sins (1 John 1:7). What does that mean? You were born again so something is “new” (John 3:3, 7; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Peter 1:23)! What does that mean? He bestowed upon you the righteousness from Almighty God (2 Corinthians 5:21)! What does that mean? “Old things” have passed away (2 Corinthians 5:17-18). What does that mean? God remembers our sins “no more” (Hebrews 10:17-18). What does that mean? He doesn’t count our sins against us (Romans 4:7-8). What does that mean? We are no longer under “condemnation” (Romans 8:1). What does that mean? We are hidden in Jesus Christ (Colossians 3:3-4). What does that mean? We are “dead to sin” and its reward (Romans 6:2, 6-8, 11, 14, 17-18, 22, 23b). What does that mean? We have “all spiritual blessings” found “in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3). What does that mean? You and I are still sinners, so what has changed so we can be perfect like God? God doesn’t expect the impossible from us. So, how can we attain that perfection?
Is Jesus’ blood adequate in making us perfect due to it removing our sins? Is the “full assurance” linked with the cleansing blood of Jesus to accomplish that perfection (Hebrews 10:22)? Does He cleanse us of our “evil conscience” to bring about that perfect condition?
If God has given us an impossible command and expects us to do the inconceivable, then I can understand the huge question mark we would have about our salvation? Is Christianity a religion of doubt that is void of assurance, offering only an empty hope of being saved?
Where is joy when assurance is a myth? Where is peace when we surrender to temptations? Where is hope when our faith is clothed in doubt? Where is our faith when our thinking is clouded with uncertainty? How can we understand “no condemnation” when our thoughts equal hopelessness? Where there is an absence of joy, peace, hope, and faith, Christianity becomes a poor religion to die by!
Jesus came to offer something better than that. Man is lost and cannot rescue himself. That is why God sent us the Savior. Jesus died to save us. He is the Savior not us. He paid it all, we don’t pay, even a small amount. “Be perfect” is the command. God provides. The blood of Jesus is the answer. God’s grace is the platform. Accepting what God has done for us through Jesus is faith. That understanding will lead one to rejoice as the eunuch and others did (Acts 8:39; Acts 13:52; Romans 1417; 15:32)? Are you rejoicing through the perfection supplied by God through Jesus Christ?